Local beauty expert Jacqueline Starr-Hubert talks the pros and cons of permanent makeup.

Wake Up a Cover Girl!

Waking up with a flawless face is typically something we only see in the movies––or is it? Permanent makeup, also known as micro-pigmentation or cosmetic tattooing, dates back to the early 1980s and can allow anyone to get up in the morning and bypass the rigorous and lengthy makeup routine we all dread.

Although the word permanent has taken on a new definition in the 21st century, it’s still a long-term commitment. This procedure should not be entered into lightly. Choosing the right permanent makeup artist is of utmost importance for your overall esthetic result as well as for your health. Choosing the wrong artist can lead to unattractive results and serious infection––make no mistake—you have to take the same precautions that you do for any body art. Doing your homework is very important, and if you live in Arizona, not doing that homework can have serious consequences because our state doesn’t require special licensing for permanent makeup artists.

There are four major areas to consider before transforming into beautiful with permanent makeup:

Board of Health Certifications

You can call the Department of Health to find out if information is available about any establishment. The establishment must observe strict sanitation codes. Compare the work area to a physician’s exam room. This is huge for reducing the risk of infection. Never patronize an artist who works out of his or her home. Anyone can go on eBay, buy machines and pigment, and go to the garage and set up shop. It’s illegal to engage in the business of tattooing, branding, scarifying, implanting, mutilating, or body piercing out of a home or an impermanent structure. Do not have any qualms about checking out the office area for cleanliness.

Artist’s Portfolio

All artists have their strengths and weaknesses. Ask to see photos of their work and ask them what they consider their artistic strengths. Spend time asking your questions. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and you may not be looking through the same lens. Never give the artist free rein—you don’t want to end up looking like a clown. Remember, this is permanent! Terms such as heavy lines, single strokes, and blocks of color will be helpful in nailing down a visual. Use the artist’s portfolio as a reference when discussing your goal. Be sure the portfolio is the actual work of the artist’s and not downloaded from the Internet.

Get Personal Referrals or Review Social Media

Ask around and find referrals from people you trust, and ask to see their before and after results. In the world we live in now, the Internet makes it so easy to research an artist and view testimonials.

Medical Considerations

Clients with any of these conditions should contact their physician to determine if it will be safe to have a permanent cosmetic procedure:

  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Keloid or hypertrophic scarring
  • Heart conditions or uncontrolled high blood pressure

Any treatment, medication, or illness that compromises the immune system or healing makes you an unlikely candidate for permanent cosmetic procedures. If you’re taking anticoagulants, there could be adverse effects if bleeding occurs.


Not only can permanent makeup create the obvious, it can also camouflaging options as well. This area of specialty requires years of experience. The field has expanded to include burn victims and cancer survivors, patients with arthritis and Parkinson’s disease who have difficulty putting on makeup, and people who would simply rather limit the amount of time spent in front of a mirror.

The word permanent isn’t completely accurate because the color fades with time and does require touch-ups. Some patients develop granulomas (masses of inflamed tissue), keloids and other types of scarring, and blisters, and they sometimes report burning sensations when they undergo an MRI.

The inks used in permanent makeup and the pigments in these inks are subject to the scrutiny of the Food and Drug Administration. The adverse reactions to micropigmentation include infections like HIV, hepatitis, staph, and strep from dirty needles as well as allergic reactions to the permanent dyes.

Although this information is certainly troubling, the good news is that there are many talented and skilled providers available. Note that I have seen examples of the good and the ugly, so when it comes to your face, never economize. And with permanent makeup, it’s fair to say that you get what you pay for.



Keloid scarring

Cold sores, fever blisters, and canker sores

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)

Lips that have been injected with fillers may not hold color well.


Arizona State Law makes it unlawful to ” engage in the business of tattooing, branding, scarifying, implanting, mutilating or body piercing out of a home or an impermanent structure, including a tent, trailer, trunk or other impermanent structure” (13-3721 Permanent Makeup Licensing Regulations).




© 2018 85085 Magazine. A Division of Strickbine Publishing Inc.

Scroll to top